Best Defense

A leadership approach: Eyes on, hands off. Also, how to be a subordinate leader.

More here about that.



More here about that.

Speaking of leadership, it is interesting that most people are of course subordinate leaders, yet there is very little written about how to actually be one. Retired Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik offers some helpful thoughts in the April issue of ARMY magazine. Learn how to do tasks for your boss so he or she can focus on doing the things only he or she can do. Define progress as “making new mistakes.”

In the same issue, retired Army Maj. Donald Vandegriff explains why the Army is having a hard time implementing a “mission command” approach. “Before a culture of Mission Command succeeds … the Army must possess the moral courage to identify countless barriers and then tear them down.” Bottom line: The Army has to stop teaching what to think and instead teach how to think. (By the way, the former is training, the latter is education. But the Army doesn’t have a Training and Education Command, does it?)

In the meantime, more here on military professionalism from a smart, well-read, Australian brigadier.

Photo credit: Flickr

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at

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